For the last several decades, numerous studies have emerged showing that those who identify as politically conservative are happier or more likely to be happier than those who identify as liberal.
While the “happiness gap” has previously determined the difference between how happy conservatives and liberals are, a new study shows that the gap may have been inaccurate all this time.
The study, conducted by Sean Wojcik, a doctorate student at the University of California, Irvine, focused on two distinct behaviors that most relate to being happy – smiling and saying more positive things. In order to identify which side of the political spectrum their participants were on, the researchers utilized photographs of elected officials along with large groups of people. The UC Irvine team used peoples’ social media platforms, such as Twitter, to gauge their political beliefs and affiliations.
The researchers point out that in past studies, most scientists ask the participant’s more straight-forward questions such as “How happy are you?” However, Wojcik and Dr. Peter Ditto, a psychology and social behavior professor at the university, say that this style of self-reporting is flawed because people always tend to overreport postive [sic] characteristics about themselves — be it happiness, calmness, intelligence or any other trait.